Marathon County Public Library

learning • community • ideas • information

Staff Reviews / Book Reviews

Check out these book reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring reviews of fiction and nonfiction for adults, children and teens! These book reviews also are published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.

"Their Fractured Light (Starbound, #3)" by Amie Kaufman

'Their Fractured Light (Starbound, #3)' by Amie Kaufman

Teen Book ★★★★★ Two years ago, Tarver and Lilac survived the Icarus crash that was planned by LaRoux Industries. One year ago Flynn and Jubilee shared the truth about the corrupt LaRoux Industries with the entire galaxy after an investigation on the planet Verona. In the final installment of the Starbound trilogy, we meet Sofia and Gideon. Sofia is looking to kill Roderick LaRoux who was behind her father's suicide. Gideon, a master hacker known as the Kn ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "Their Fractured Light (Starbound, #3)" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly" by Stephanie Oakes

'The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly' by Stephanie Oakes

Teen Book ★★★★★ When the reader first meets Minnow Bly, she is being arrested for beating a homeless man. From that moment on, we are swept into the world of Minnow Bly. When Minnow was young, her family joined a the Cult of Kevin. Being a Kevinian meant believing the stories that the Prophet told about God and the outside world, including the fact that the those on the outside are waiting to kill any member of the cult. Minnow, who prowls the woods, happ ...

Reviewed by Julie K. Read more reviews of "The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly" at Goodreads.com. »

"Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home" by Duff Goldman

'Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home' by Duff Goldman

Adult Book ★★★★ This almost fully illustrated cookbook is packed full of delicious items to try, from breads to cookies to pies. While I was flipping through in envy, since I can't eat regular baked goods, I was very happily surprised to find a vegan and gluten-free chapter hidden in here. With fourteen safe and enticing recipes for me, I was pleasantly surprised by this new cookbook that has something for everyone! ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home" at Goodreads.com. »

"All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey

'All I Want for Christmas Is You' by Mariah Carey

Children's Book ★★★★★ If you love Mariah Carey's hit Christmas song "All I Want for Christmas Is You," this picture book is for you! The words in the picture book are from Carey's song, so you can sing the lyrics or simply read them. The illustrations tell the story of a little Mariah wishing and hoping for a puppy from Santa Claus. Follow Mariah on a snowy, Christmas journey to getting what she truly wants for Christmas. Adults who enjoy this Christmas song wi ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" at Goodreads.com. »

"Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk" by Lara Ferroni

'Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk' by Lara Ferroni

Adult Book ★★★★ Craving Thin Mints, Hot Pockets, or even Twinkies, but don't want all the preservatives, food dyes, and other mysterious ingredients? This cookbook is packed full of recipes for homemade versions of your favorite snacks you ate as a kid. They are healthier, homemade versions of all those snacks you remember craving. What I appreciated the most about this cookbook was that the author had notes for every recipe on how to make it gluten-free ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk" at Goodreads.com. »

"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates

'Between the World and Me' by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Teen Book ★★★★★ In this letter to his adolescent son, Coates reflects upon what it means to grow up and live in the United States while inhabiting a black body. It is a combination of history, social commentary, and memoir as Coates explains to his son the complexities of his own journey to adulthood and explores the larger context of the history of race in the United States. It is expertly crafted, insightful, and moving. If you appreciate books that all ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Between the World and Me" at Goodreads.com. »

"Food Cures: Fight Disease with Your Fork!: Fight Disease with Your Fork!" by Reader's Digest Association

'Food Cures: Fight Disease with Your Fork!: Fight Disease with Your Fork!' by Reader's Digest Association

Adult Book ★★★★★ This is the best resource I've found so far for anyone looking for natural and healthy ways to fight and prevent numerous health issues. As someone with four health issues that very much affect my everyday life, I'm always looking for books that touch on the nutrition factor of foods to fight disease or help with ailments, or, sometimes even more important, those foods that should be avoided depending on certain illnesses. This is the most ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Food Cures: Fight Disease with Your Fork!: Fight Disease with Your Fork!" at Goodreads.com. »

"Forgotten Bones. Uncovering a Slave Cemetery" by Lois Miner Huey

'Forgotten Bones. Uncovering a Slave Cemetery' by Lois Miner Huey

Teen Book ★★★★★ I'm always curious about the past and how important it is recognize the impact the past has on the present. This book, "Forgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery" really piqued my curiosity. I enjoy reading about how these relics from the past are discovered and analyzed. In this case, the cemetery is located near Albany, NY, and discovered during an excavation to lay sewer pipes. The land belonged at one time to a wealthy farmer who ow ...

Reviewed by Julie K. Read more reviews of "Forgotten Bones. Uncovering a Slave Cemetery" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Jesus Cow: A Novel" by Michael Perry

'The Jesus Cow: A Novel' by Michael  Perry

Adult Book ★★★★★ When Harley Jackson sees the unmistakable image of Jesus Christ on a newborn calf’s flank on Christmas Eve, he recognizes it for what it is: trouble. As a single fellow accustomed to a quiet life in his small, rural Wisconsin community, Harley wants nothing to do with the attention the calf will draw. He’s reluctant to capitalize on the calf despite his best friend Billy’s assertions that the attention could save what’s left of his ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "The Jesus Cow: A Novel" at Goodreads.com. »

"Home Remedies: An A-Z Guide of Quick And Easy Natural Cures" by Meredith Hale

'Home Remedies: An A-Z Guide of Quick And Easy Natural Cures' by Meredith Hale

Adult Book ★★★★ Looking for chemical-free, safe ways to remedy common illnesses and problems? This is a great, illustrated resource packed full of information for anyone looking for safe (and cheaper) home remedies to common problems like headaches, toothaches, nausea, burns, and allergies. This also includes helpful tips on most topics, like how to prevent certain problems and/or when further medical attention is needed. I found many home remedies I'm al ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Home Remedies: An A-Z Guide of Quick And Easy Natural Cures" at Goodreads.com. »

"Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories" by Jennifer Morales

'Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories' by Jennifer Morales

Adult Book ★★★★★ An intriguing look at the interconnectedness of people, this book winds together stories about individuals who are all affected in some way by one boy's tragic fate. It explores the multifaceted issues that make us human and the ways that we relate to those around us. Issues of race, age, and sexual identity are all explored in this brief collection. The stories are beautifully and respectfully told to give us a glimpse into the life and v ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories" at Goodreads.com. »

"Lie Still" by Julia Heaberlin

'Lie Still' by Julia Heaberlin

Adult Book ★★★★★ Julia Heaberlin is one of my new favorite voices in the mystery genre. I've loved all of her books so far, and "Lie Still" is no exception! Emily Page and her husband have moved from New York City to small town Texas in order for her husband to accept a job of police chief. Emily, pregnant with the couple's first child, hopes her haunted past and the stalker that taunts her will not be able to reach her in the wealthy, perfect town of Clai ...

Reviewed by Laura W. Read more reviews of "Lie Still" at Goodreads.com. »

"Listen to the Moon" by Michael Morpurgo

'Listen to the Moon' by Michael Morpurgo

Children's Book ★★★★★ Skipping school while out fishing with his father near the island of St. Helen's, Alfie and his father discover a half-starved, injured young girl who is barely alive on the small uninhabited island. Where she came from is a mystery since she is not speaking. His family cares for her, names her Lucy, and as their relationship grows and she becomes a part of their family, they fiercely love and want to protect her. The townspeople, includin ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Listen to the Moon" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism" by Naoki Higashida

'The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism' by Naoki Higashida

Adult Book ★★★★★ There are books written by adults with autism and from the perspective of family members, educators, and others who work with children with autism, but this book is unique because it is written by a thirteen-year-old boy with autism. Higashida retains the perspective of a child but has the introspection of an early teen. It’s a rare look into the thoughts of an autistic child, and he candidly answers questions about common behaviors of a ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism" at Goodreads.com. »

"Wildflower" by Drew Barrymore

'Wildflower' by Drew Barrymore

Adult Book ★★★★★ I loved this book! Reading it is like sitting down with a good friend over a cup of cocoa and listening to their stories. Drew writes with such emotion and honesty that you feel like she is in the room with you. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me realize what a beautiful soul she is. This book is written as a collection of stories from her life. She shares her struggles, her joys, her friendships, and her passion-drive ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Wildflower" at Goodreads.com. »

"Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson

'Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption' by Bryan Stevenson

Adult Book ★★★★★ As a twenty-three-year-old Harvard law student, Stevenson had his first encounter with an inmate on death row. That meaningful encounter led him to commit his law career to representing the legally underrepresented: death row inmates, children sentenced to life without parole, and others marginalized by the system. He founded and currently serves as the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Through this book, which includes p ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" at Goodreads.com. »

"Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)" by Amie Kaufman

'Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)' by Amie Kaufman

Teen Book ★★★★★ It’s a good thing that seventeen-year-old Kady broke up with her boyfriend that morning. If she hadn’t broken up with Ezra, she wouldn’t have driven to school that day. She and Ezra survived the attack on their tiny plant of Kerenza by BeiTech Industries because they were able to make it to the port and escape with others on three different vessels. Kady is on the Hypatia, a research vessel and Ezra, who needed medical treatment, is ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari

'Modern Romance' by Aziz Ansari

Adult Book ★★★★★ For those of you who aren’t familiar with Aziz Ansari, he is an actor (perhaps best known from Parks & Recreation) and a stand-up comedian, but this isn’t a typical book by a comic. The book was inspired in part by a segment of his stand-up routine and is filled with humor throughout, but it’s actually a carefully researched book that examines the state of romantic relationships in our modern, tech-savvy world. Ansari teamed up w ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Modern Romance" at Goodreads.com. »

"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal

'Kitchens of the Great Midwest' by J. Ryan Stradal

Adult Book ★★★ "Kitchens of the Midwest" is a compilation of stories about different people that influence the main character, Eva Thorvald. The book starts out by talking about Eva's parents and then takes us through the culinary journey that Eva goes on. It skips big portions of time and takes a while with each chapter to figure out how the chapter relates to Eva; from her first love to her mom seeing her for the first time since she was a baby. By the ...

Reviewed by Heather B. Read more reviews of "Kitchens of the Great Midwest" at Goodreads.com. »

"Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" by Timothy Snyder

'Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning' by Timothy Snyder

Adult Book ★★★★★ Timothy Snyder's book "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" attempts to place Hitler and Nazi Germany within a political and cultural context. Starting with Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and tracing how Hitler's opinions expressed there found fruition in the Nazi state, Snyder explains how Hitler's negative views of Jews became one of the main thrusts for his government in conquering neighboring countries and working with the Soviet ...

Reviewed by Julie K. Read more reviews of "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Blackthorn Key" by Kevin Sands

'The Blackthorn Key' by Kevin Sands

Children's Book ★★★★★ An orphan, Christopher Rowe feels lucky to be chosen as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn, a great and kind apothecary. In order to keep recipes for his medicines and potions secret, his master uses complex codes and puzzles which Christopher is being taught to decipher. But when his master is brutally killed and a strange cult appears to be targeting London’s apothecaries, Christopher must also run for his life. He becomes ent ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Blackthorn Key" at Goodreads.com. »

"Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)" by Marissa Meyer

'Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)' by Marissa Meyer

Teen Book ★★★★★ In the final installment of The Lunar Chronicles, Princess Winter joins Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in a revolution to bring down her evil stepmother, Queen Levana. Winter is beautiful, kind, and the people of Luna adore her. When Levana orders Winter's death due to her beauty and popularity, Winter escapes thanks to Jacin, her lifetime friend and love interest. The four heroines team up along with Wolf, Thorne, and Emperor Kai to start a r ...

Reviewed by Taylor W. Read more reviews of "Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Thing About Jellyfish" by Ali Benjamin

'The Thing About Jellyfish' by Ali Benjamin

Children's Book ★★★★★ It doesn’t make sense. How could it happen? She’s sick of hearing people say “some things just happen.” It isn’t really a reason. For a scientific thinker like seventh-grader Suzy Swanson, there has to be an explanation. Franny Jackson, her twelve year-old best friend, was an excellent swimmer, so how could she have just drowned? Bit by bit, through many flashbacks interspersed among this novel, we begin to see and understand Fra ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Thing About Jellyfish" at Goodreads.com. »

"One Plus One" by Jojo Moyes

'One Plus One' by Jojo Moyes

Adult Book ★★★★★ I'm not much for a fluffy romance, but who can resist a story about a single mom, her quirky kids, their enormous dog, and an unsuspecting stranger trapped together in a tiny car on an impromptu road trip? This story is about Jess, an eternal optimist who will do anything to give her kids the life that they deserve. Unfortunately, fate has a way of knocking Jess over time and again as she struggles to provide for her little family. When he ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "One Plus One" at Goodreads.com. »

"A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat" by Emily Jenkins

'A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat' by Emily Jenkins

Children's Book ★★★★★ This is one of the best picture books that I have read in a long time! Just as the title suggests, the book follows one recipe for Blackberry Fool through different centuries and families. The recipe is generally made the same in each family, however, the technology used and family preparing the recipe are vastly different. Historically this book shows everything from the role of women in the household, to slavery, to modernization, to fin ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat" at Goodreads.com. »

25 | Based on the Goodreads API.